The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly shaken things up for businesses of all types and sizes. The tremendous uncertainty that remains regarding the impact on public health, economic growth, and the financial and real estate markets can be a challenge to navigate.
Individuals looking to buy or sell their homes before the pandemic began put their dreams on hold to wait and see what will play out.
As we see a shift towards a resemblance of normalcy, many wonder how the real estate industry has changed since the Coronavirus began.
Should you sell your house during a pandemic? What precautions need to be taken in the process? Is now really the right time to buy? As these questions circle around your head, grasping the right answer can be tough.
The good news is that the real estate market is still booming. And, we’re here to ease your worries.
Let’s check out how the Coronavirus affects the real estate industry, what you need to know about buying and selling during a pandemic, and how to stay safe.
The Real Estate Industry During Coronavirus
The year 2020 began in a way that none of us could have expected.
Across the world, millions of people fell ill, some died, and life as we knew it completely changed.
As the initial shock of it all began to settle, individuals shifted their worry from their own health and safety to the important decisions that were circling before the world seemed to stop.
What we initially expected the impact of Coronavirus to be on the real estate industry was grave.
Like many other business industries, real estate professionals worried that the industry would take a hit.
Once it did, would we be able to recover?
Surprisingly, the opposite happened. Sure, things have changed significantly from the way we used to conduct business.
But the sellers market, that existed at the start of 2020, remains. In some areas, pockets of housing markets are actually heating up, especially in the suburbs.
Developments are fluid.
Residents from areas that have been designated as “hot spots” are fleeing to escape.
First time buyers are feeling rushed to make a purchase as the threat of rising prices continues to worry them.
From February of 2012 to May of 2020, home prices rose a drastic 45% in the United States.
That means the 2012 boom we all remember is still going strong, and it could go on for years.
The early impact of the Coronavirus on the real estate market ended in a quick rebound, spiking sales locally and nationally.
As inventory dropped, demand remained, driving prices in a way that only sellers could appreciate.
But, there’s good news for buyers as well.
While the rise in prices may be fit for a sellers market, COVID-19 has created the perfect momentum for buyers to keep the real estate market moving.
Ease of lending requirements and super low interest rates can make that dream home you’ve been saving for more quickly attainable.
The negative impact we expected for the real estate industry, when we found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, luckily stayed away.
The COVID-19 crisis has made way for some great opportunities for both buyer and seller.
The only question is whether now is your time to buy and/or sell.
Why Are Homeowners Hesitant to Sell or Buy During a Pandemic?
While the real estate industry is still working in full force, there are still many individuals who worry about buying or selling in the middle of the pandemic.
Here are some concerns:
1. Exposure to COVID-19
Of course, at the heart of the question is the worry about your health and safety.
Will bringing strangers into my home for viewings expose me to the Coronavirus?
Will going to see a listing in person lead me to contract the disease?
The great news is that the real estate industry as a whole has done a great job at limiting exposure and following the right precautions to keep ourselves and our clients safe.
In fact, you can visit the National Association of Realtors’ website to view a list of ways the industry is ensuring everyone stays safe while making real estate transactions.
2. Unemployment Fear
The fear of unemployment, unfortunately, falls on both sellers and buyers.
Buyers worry that they’ll make a life-changing investment and then find themselves unemployed with all the uncertainty of the future of this virus.
Sellers worry that buyers will lose their jobs while under contract and make a mess of their own plans.
While unemployment fear is certainly something to consider, you should take the time to weigh your true risk and reward.
3. Inventory Is Low
Many homeowners are currently hesitant to sell because the inventory is low.
“What if I put my house on the market and get a buy, but I can’t find something suitable for myself in a new home?”
It’s a valid question and something you should discuss with your realtor.
They know the local market and will be able to help you navigate this worry.
4. Price Points
This is another one that goes both ways.
Buyers worry that they’re paying too much. Some wonder if they should wait and see if we’re going to see a drop in prices if the economy doesn’t see a shift soon.
Sellers worry that they can’t possibly get top dollar for their property in the middle of a pandemic.
Again, let the statistics do the talking.
Nationally, we are in a sellers market and, as mentioned before, Hillsborough County single family homes are selling for an average price over $300,000 at the time.
Should You Sell Your Home During a Pandemic?
Let’s start by talking about selling. Spring and summer are the most active months for the year for home sales.
This should come as no surprise. School is out. Vacation time is available to help you deal with all the ups and downs of packing and unpacking.
Most clients look to close on homes and move in before the new school year begins, giving children the chance to get adjusted and start the school year where they’ll end it.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, its most notable impact began around mid-March.
Initially, sellers aired on the side of caution.
They began hitting the brakes on listing and leaning towards the wait-and-see approach.
While it’s always a smart choice to be cautious, especially when it comes to major financial decisions, the wait-and-see approach doesn’t always work.
As you now know, we may be expecting a second wave of rising infection rates of the Coronavirus and who knows how that will change things.
So, should you sell now?
Here are some reasons why the answer is yes.
Should You Sell Your Home During Covid?
Even with all the uncertainty, there are still several reasons why you should sell your home despite being in the middle of a pandemic.
Let’s break them down.
1. Your Job Requires You to Move
Job-related sales have always held some major weight on the real estate market.
If that dream job opportunity hits and requires you to move across the coast, you’re most likely going to get packing. Same goes with promotions and transfers.
Especially in the current state of the economy, business professionals are going where they’re told to go for fear of losing their job.
And, if you’re lucky enough to land a great promotion, the same goes.
If you’re considering selling your home because your job requires you to do so, don’t hesitate.
2. Unemployment Requires You to Downsize
On the contrary, several Americans have lost their jobs.
Businesses have closed completely. Others have been forced to lay off many of their employees.
Shelter in place and quarantine requirements have forced workers to hunker down at home.
Unfortunately, the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis may mean you need to downsize.
For thousands of Americans, housing priced off at high-end areas means they need to sell. It is what it is.
3. Growing Families
While some Americans have been forced to downsize due to unemployment, there are still families who are growing due to COVID-19.
More time at home with each other has led couples to grow their families.
People are more connected than ever.
Couples who were once waiting to have children are asking themselves “why wait?”
That one or two bedroom ranch that was once so comfortable, may no longer fit the needs of your growing family.
If you need more space, now is a great time to sell your current home.
4. It’s Still a Sellers’ Market
Prices remain high.
In Hillsborough County, the average single family home price is hovering right around $312,000.
In fact, a study done in May 2020 showed a 5% increase in prices from May 2019.
If you’re thinking about selling, you might as well strike while the iron is hot.
5. You’re Ready to Downsize
While many people may be forced to downsize due to unemployment, there’s still a large percentage of sellers who are downsizing because it’s time to do so.
Maybe your children have grown or you are nearing the retirement years and looking for less responsibility.
Whatever the reason, if you’re choosing to downsize, now is the right time to get the most money for your sale.
Real Estate Statistics for Riverview, FL
While real estate sales may have slowed nationally, they are certainly not stagnant.
Looking specifically at Hillsborough County, statistics show that home sales were down by 33% in May of this year.
While we can assume that the major jump that month was due to resurgence because of COVID, the sales decline actually started long before the pandemic hit.
In July of 2019, we began to see what would be a 28% decline in the number of active homes on the market.
This home shortage is another great reason to sell.
If sales continue at the current demand, it would take only two months to deplete the inventory of active listings we have here in the Riverview, FL area.
Add the fact that buyers are being incentivized to the max these days, and you have the recipe for success with your real estate sales.
With home loans at record lows and demand higher than the inventory of active listings in Hillsborough County, you are actually in line to get the best sales price for your home because of the pandemic.
Furthermore, we’re headed into the fall season.
The spring/summer buying seasons has been extended because of the shelter in place orders and now is the perfect time to list before the winter comes.
As we all know, winter months tend to slow down the rate of home sales in the industry.
Coupled with the fact that we are in the middle of an election year, the questions of our economy, and the other COVID-19 related concerns, there’s no better time than now.
As with any major decision in life, you will always have questions.
But don’t let the what-ifs rule your life.
Sellers are at an advantage with the current price points for home sales nationally.
But buyers have benefits too.
The value of a good place to live truly can’t be quantified. Regardless of the short-term shifts in the market, finding a house to make a home is priceless.
If not now, when?